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New York Milks $300K from Retailers Over Toy Gun Sales

New York Milks $300K from Retailers Over Toy Gun Sales

Regulations upon regulations

Retailers including Wal-Mart, Amazon, and Sears have reached a $300K compromise with New York regulators who say that the outlets’ sales of toy guns violate state law.

Federal law requires that toy guns display an orange strip to indicate non functionality, but New York law goes further by banning the sale of black, blue, silver, or aluminum imitation guns. (New York City goes even further—your mock glock needs to be transparent or brightly colored in the Big Apple.) Officials also hit a total of 67 online third-party sellers with cease-and-desist letters in an attempt to prevent indirect sales from slipping across state lines.

For their part, the New York AG’s office is sticking to their guns (I’m so, so sorry) over the controversial crackdown; officials claim that their regulations work to keep citizens safe from mix-ups with law enforcement:

“There have been instances in states around the country in which police officers have mistaken toy guns for actual guns,” Eric T. Schneiderman, the attorney general, said in an interview. “It’s an absolutely unnecessary risk, because toy guns, as New York law requires, can be easily distinguishable.”

Business Briefing: New York Warns Retailers on Realistic Toy GunsDEC. 18, 2014
Momentum has grown to restrict toy guns over the past year, set off in part by the death of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy who was playing with a toy gun when he was shot by a police officer in Cleveland in November. In 2015, lawmakers in Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York, Ohio and Washington introduced legislation to create or amend toy gun laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Half a dozen states, as well as Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., already have laws on the books, according to the organization.

Mr. Schneiderman’s office said the enforcement actions have two goals: cut down on crimes that involve toy guns, like robberies, and help prevent split-second mistakes by the police that can end in death. Since 1994, there have been at least 63 shootings in New York State because of toy or imitation guns, according to the attorney general’s office, at least eight of them ending in fatalities.

Their argument, for what it’s worth, goes over well in the media. After 12 year-old Tamir Rice was shot and killed during an encounter with police involving a toy pistol, activists rallied in favor of restrictions similar to the ones governing sales in New York.

For the most part, retailers appear to have relented in this battle. It’s better to take a small monetary hit than wage a corporate battle against the rabid talking point machine that is the liberal anti-gun lobby; but keep in mind that these regulations, and others like them, are still part of a broader legislative movement meant to demonize, regulate, and eventually restrict gun ownership in America.


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I’d rather our cops re-learn common sense and get away from this shoot-first-ask-questions-sometime-later approach, but I see no real problem with making sure fake guns look fake.

    healthguyfsu in reply to Daiwa. | August 4, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    Clearly, you don’t know that some criminals will add orange to real guns to make them look fake…it’s significant enough to warrant studies and action plans in the criminal justice code.

How about a little more parental involvement? Don’t give your kid an airsoft Desert Eagle and then send him out to play in the ‘hood.

How long will it take for Glock and others to offer a brightly colored weapon with an orange plastic tip?

    Why would they want to?

    Phillep Harding in reply to Jimbino. | August 3, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    Manufacturers would not. Gang bangers will head down to the hardware store and pick up some day glow paint.

    BTW, a coating that would repel paint so it would not stick would also protect the firearm from etching by finger prints. This has been outlawed several places by idiots who think such coatings make the guns so finger prints cannot be lifted from the coating.

    Old0311 in reply to Jimbino. | August 3, 2015 at 4:29 pm

    Have you ever seen an AR with bright green furniture? They exist as do bright pink pistols. If a LEO has to make a life of death decision based on color of the gun, how long before some gangbanger paints his pistol blue? Blue being the color of Glocks plastic training pistols that are incapable of firing a bullet.

    Ragspierre in reply to Jimbino. | August 3, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    What gob-smackingly stupid idea.

    Can you imagine the reaction of Glock’s corporate counsel???

Henry Hawkins | August 3, 2015 at 5:37 pm

Do they not know how many arms manufacturers sell pink pistols to appeal to the female market?

Beretta 9mm in pink:

Color coding is too easy to alter in favor of the bad guys, and I do not blame any officer who regards any weapon as real till proven otherwise. I’m no hindsighter.

    faboutlaws in reply to Henry Hawkins. | August 3, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    When I was a kid we had a Beretta Mod 950B that my dad let us shoot once we reached 7th grade so long as we always followed safety protocols. Someone gave us a solid steel bullet that held about 30 lbs of sand at the bottom. Dad placed the trap on the basement floor right under the main fuse box. It never got hit. Over years. Whenever I got bored with homework or pissed off at something I would go down and shoot off a couple of clips of .22 short. By the time I went off to college I and three of my younger brothers had shot off at least 20,000 rounds without a misfire. My other brothers, I have 7, kept shooting it after I was gone. It was still working four years later when I came back to Chicago finally, from Urbana. It was a great, but dinky assed low power gun. Maybe I should try to find another. I have a real big basement now, over 3000 sq ft, but I sure wouldn’t want to hit the 400 amp breaker box.

Federal law requires that toy guns display an orange strip to indicate non functionality


Federal law requires that airsoft guns have an orange band at the muzzle when sold to the public (along with the usual “interstate commerce” stuff).

Water pistols and dart guns (the type with rubber-tipped darts) have been made in neon colors for years. If this is a federal law, I haven’t heard about it; but I haven’t seen a realistically-colored water or dart gun in at least thirty years.

But cap guns, BB guns, and pellet airguns are routinely made and sold with no special markings whatever. Some of them are very realistic replicas of the real deals—good enough to deceive a firearms expert, at least at a distance. And I know Walmart and Amazon are selling these, because I just bought a bunch a few weeks ago.

Also … real guns have been available in colors for many years. Phosphate and anodized coatings are routinely colored. Teflon coatings are available in any color. And there are a number of very durable spray paints developed specifically for firearms; to do a proper paint job at home the gun should be disassembled, sprayed, and the parts baked in an oven (a home kitchen oven works fine). To do a not-so-proper job, a can of Rust-Oleum works fine.

And we all know about the notorious Hello Kitty AR-15, which is, of course, pink.

Conversely, there is nothing to prevent an owner from painting a non-gun any color he wants. I’ve seen a tableful of water pistols originally molded in neon colors, but which looked amazingly like the real military-issue versions when given a coat of Sears Bar-B-Q flat black spray paint.

As usual, obsessing over the hardware is not the solution.

    Bingo. Nothing stops anyone from painting any object — fake gun, real gun, or anything else — any color they want.

    At least, until they start requiring federal Universal Background Checks on every can of Krylon sold in America(snort if you like, but I for one wouldn’t be surprised at such a proposal).

    Or, as I’m becoming fond of saying: “Recipe for NYPD-proof ‘Gangsta Glock’: One (1) Glock pistol, one (1) can graffiti-bright spray paint. Some assembly required.”

Ah, New York State, land of milk and honey for the down state uber-rich liberals. If there is a way to squeeze more blood out of a turnip, the corrupt, criminal Democrat (sorry for the oxymoron) Professional Politicians will find it.

There’s a Brain and Population Drain thanks to that State’s higher tax rates (which go to pay for New York City). Will the last Thinking Adult leaving the State please turn off the lights?

yeah this is a good old fashioned shakedown